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Selling Cover Songs on iTunes?

Discussion in 'F.O.H.' started by submersed, Jun 3, 2010.

  1. submersed

    submersed <B>HTML RULEZ D00D</B>

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    I've been seeing more and more cover songs popping up on iTunes, and it got me wondering, people are actually buying these...so, what's the catch?

    Are the bands paying royalties? How are they getting their covers on iTunes without copyright infringement? If they aren't, how are they getting the licenses to do so? Does anyone know the exact process to doing something like this, with links to resources included (specifically for getting a cover track on iTunes).

    Edit: through the helpful links posted here and my own research, here's the answer I found for anyone else who is interested.

    Sale of 500 cover songs distributed digitally via iTunes

    Costs
    Mechanical Rate For Song License (-) $0.091 x 500
    Harry Fox Licensing Fee (-) $15.00
    Tunecore (-) $9.99/year
    Total Cost: $70.49

    Sales
    iTunes Sale (+) $0.99 x 500
    iTunes Fixed Pay Rate (-) $0.30 x 500
    Total Sales: $345.00
     
  2. Jind

    Jind Grrrr!!! (I'm a bear)

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  3. submersed

    submersed <B>HTML RULEZ D00D</B>

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    Edit: I posted too soon, your second link explains my question:

    I was on this page earlier, in it there's a link to that Limelight webpage, but there has to be some kind of trick to this? They have a flat royalty fee for every song...That doesn't seem legitimate?

    Wouldn't they have to contact the record label / artist / producer of the original for what they want to charge as a royalty fee? How can this limelight page directly grant me permission to cover a song when they don't own the song to begin with?

    If this is legitimate, once you get their 'permission' to use the song, or whatever it is you're buying, how do you go from there, to getting it onto iTunes?
     
  4. slashvanyoung

    slashvanyoung Dopefish lives!

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    Dig through this.

    This is a key fact you should know:

    Services like HFA Songfile or Limelight ARE legit, not always the cheapest option, but definitely the most convenient.

    There is a catch though, not EVERY artist/rights holder/administrator is represented by these licensing agencies. For those songs you'd have to get the license "directly" like it's described in the link above.
     
  5. submersed

    submersed <B>HTML RULEZ D00D</B>

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    Both that link, and your summary were very, very helpful. Thank you very much.

    I guess my next concern is, I was adding up the costs of getting a song licenses, and distributing it on iTunes, and what shocked me was that I read online that profit on iTunes is extremely difficult to accomplish, and that artists only take away $0.09 on a $0.99 sale? I can't find the exact statistics on this, but that seems a bit ridiculous.

    Source:
    Now, I don't know if it's the same for independent artists, as in owning the song, and producing it yourself? Do you know exactly what apple slices off of your $.99? (Considering the royalty fees are prepaid, well leave those out of the question).
     
  6. THE PLAGUE

    THE PLAGUE Dworc Voodoomaster

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    Actually there are some sites like "Tunecore" that promise you 100% profit from your itunes sales, you will only need to pay some fees for other sites like amazon, etc...

    But Ive heard of some copyright issues involving people that didnt receive their money because they didnt have the copyright/license/rights of the songs, so be aware! :rolleyes:
     
  7. submersed

    submersed <B>HTML RULEZ D00D</B>

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    I did a bit of further researching and found the while Tunecore promises 100% of profit, what I was worried about was how much is that 'profit', because iTunes has to take a chunk from it to make their money.

    From what I was able to find, iTunes gives 70% of profits back to the artists, which Tunecore does not take a chunk from.

    So, in terms of self-produced cover songs, it seems this is the answer I've found:

    Sale of 500 cover songs distributed digitally via iTunes

    Costs
    Mechanical Rate For Song License (-) $0.091 x 500
    Harry Fox Licensing Fee (-) $15.00
    Tunecore (-) $9.99/year
    Total Cost: $70.49

    Sales
    iTunes Sale (+) $0.99 x 500
    iTunes Fixed Pay Rate (-) $0.30 x 500
    Total Sales: $345.00
     
  8. Gavs242

    Gavs242 New Metal Member

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    Hey submersed, I actually work with the Limelight team and think I can help you with your problem. Limelight can acquire a DPD license (what you need for digital distribution) for any song you wish to cover. We work with all publishers, HFA and non-HFA affiliated. If you plan to release physical copies of the cover song (cd, vinyl, cassette) we can get you a license for that as well.

    With Limelight, you pay the royalties upfront based on how many copies you intend on selling. So if you were to go through Limelight and then release your song on iTunes, the only money iTunes would take from you is their service charge per song sold. We charge a license fee of $15 (or less for multiple songs/configurations), and if you happen to sell more then you originally thought, you can revisit the site and re-new the license. We are based in New York and welcome any artists/labels to come by and meet the team. Hope this helps, any questions you have feel free to ask.
     
  9. Duan_d

    Duan_d New Metal Member

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    HI Gavs242,

    Does a DPD license from Limelight cover digital distribution only in the U.S? I'm struggling to find companies like Limelight that are U.K based.
     
  10. LeSedna

    LeSedna Mat or Mateo

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    Necrothread, though I'm happy you did dig it up since I was curious wether I could do a cover as well or not :)
     

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